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Space Squadron #1-5 (June 1951 – Feb. 1952) continued as Space Worlds #6 (Apr.1952).
There have been science fiction comics in the United States since comic books began in 1938 when newspaper comic strips of Superman were published in collected form. Since then there have been comics based on science fiction of many styles including superheroes with a science fiction angle, comics featuring the space travels of Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, Dan Dare and others.
John Carter of Mars is a fictional Virginian transplanted to Mars, and the initial protagonist of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom stories. His character is enduring, having appeared in various media since his 1912 debut in a magazine serial. The 2012 Disney-made feature film John Carter marks the 100th anniversary of the character's first appearance.
Carter reappeared in subsequent volumes of the series, most prominently in the second (The Gods of Mars, 1918), the third (The Warlord of Mars, 1919), the eighth (Swords of Mars, 1936), the tenth (Llana of Gathol, 1948), and the eleventh and final installment (John Carter of Mars, published posthumously in 1964). John Carter is also a major secondary character in the fourth volume (Thuvia, Maid of Mars, 1920), and the ninth (Synthetic Men of Mars, 1940).
John Carter has appeared many times in short-lived comic strips and comic books, as well as in various Big Little Books of the 1930s and 1940s. The most notable John Carter comic strip to appear in Edgar Rice Burroughs' lifetime was written and illustrated by Burroughs' son John Coleman Burroughs. This strip debuted on Sunday, December 7, 1941—the very day of the infamous Pearl Harbor Attack. This well-done strip lasted only 72 weeks, ending in March 1943. Dell Comics released three issues of John Carter of Mars under its Four Color Comics banner. The issue numbers are 375, 437, and 488 and were released in 1952-1953. Carter has appeared in various subsequent graphic adaptations of the Martian stories, notably the "John Carter of Mars" feature that ran in DC Comics' Tarzan and Weird Worlds comics from 1972 to 1973, and in Marvel Comics' John Carter, Warlord of Mars from 1977 to 1979. He also appeared, along with Tarzan, in a 1994-1995 storyline of the Tarzan Sunday comic strip, and in Tarzan/John Carter: Warlords of Mars, a 1996 four-issue miniseries from Dark Horse Comics. In 2010, Dynamite Entertainment published an ongoing series titled Warlord of Mars, written by Arvid Nelson. In 2011, "Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris" #1 debuted, also written by Nelson. Self Made Hero are also adapting A Princess of Mars into a graphic novel, adapted by Ian Edginton with art by INJ Culbard.
Carter's physical appearances in the comics varied greatly from decade to decade. He was a frequent character in sketches and paintings by Frank Frazetta (February 9, 1928 – May 10, 2010).
Buck Rogers is a fictional character who first appeared in Armageddon 2419 A.D. by Philip Francis Nowlan in the August 1928 issue of the pulp magazine Amazing Stories as Anthony Rogers. A sequel, The Airlords of Han, was published in the March 1929 issue.
Philip Nowlan and the syndicate John F. Dille Company, later known as the National Newspaper Syndicate, contracted to adapt the story into a comic strip. After Nowlan and Dille enlisted editorial cartoonist Dick Calkins as the illustrator, Nowlan adapted the first episode from Armageddon 2419, A.D. and changed the hero's name from Anthony Rogers to Buck Rogers. The strip made its first newspaper appearance on January 7, 1929. Later adaptations included a serial film, a television series (where his first name was changed from Anthony to William) as well and other formats.
The adventures of Buck Rogers in comic strips, movies, radio and television became an important part of American popular culture. This pop phenomenon paralleled the development of space technology in the 20th century and introduced Americans to outer space as a familiar environment for swashbuckling adventure.
Buck Rogers has been credited with bringing into popular media the concept of space exploration, following in the footsteps of literary pioneers such as Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs (John Carter of Mars).
Flash Gordon is the hero of a science fiction adventure comic strip originally drawn by Alex Raymond. First published January 7, 1926, the strip was inspired by and created to compete with the already established Buck Rogers adventure strip. Also inspired by these series were comics such as Dash Dixon (1935 to 1939) by H.T. Elmo and Larry Antoinette and Don Dixon and the Hidden Empire (1935 to 1941) by Carl Pfeufer and Bob Moore.
In Australia, the character and strip were retitled Speed Gordon to avoid a negative connotation of the word "Flash". At the time, the predominant meaning of "flash" was "showy", connoting dishonesty. In France, his adventures were published in Le Journal de Mickey, under the name "Guy l'Éclair". Dale Arden was named Camille in the French translation. In Spain, Mexico and some countries in Latin America, the strip is called Roldán el Temerario (Roldan the Fearless) and in Turkey the strip is called "Bay Tekin" (Mister Canny).
The Flash Gordon comic strip has been translated into a wide variety of media, including motion pictures, television and animated series. The latest version, a Flash Gordon television series, appeared on the United States Sci-Fi Channel in 2007–2008 and then on the United Kingdom Sci-Fi Channel. A print comic book series by Brendan Deneen and Paul Green and published by Ardden Entertainment debuted in 2008, with the first arc entitled "The Mercy Wars". These were followed by further storylines.
The World of Tomorrow got its due in the pages of comics. Here space ships could be depicted much more realistically than those tin cans on a string you saw in Saturday-morning serials like Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940) or King of the Rocket Men (1949). It would take more than half a century for Hollywood’: special effects to catch up with the dazzling visuals drawn by Wallace Wood and Al Williamson in EC Comics’ celebrated sci-ﬁ titles Weird Fantasy (1950) and Weird Science (1950).
In the 1950s, EC Comics had great success and popularity publishing science fiction comics of increasing sophistication, but were almost driven out of business by the wave of anti-comics feeling stirred-up among parents and educators by Dr. Fredric Wertham's book Seduction of the Innocent. In spite of opposition, science fiction in comics in the U.S. continued through the 1960s with stories for children and adolescents. It began to return to the adult market again in the late 60s with the wave of hippy underground comics.
DC Comics’ Strange Adventures (1950) and Mystery in Space (1951), the classic sci-fi titles edited by aﬁcionado Julius Schwartz, got high marks from young space cadets. And a Mystery in Space series called ‘Space Cabby” cannot be beat for deep-space zaniness-the story of a cab driver taxiing passengers between planets.
Ziff-Davis put its toe in the water with Weird Thrillers (1951) and Space Busters (1952). Avon tried its hand with Flying Saucers (1950), Strange Worlds (1950), Earthman on Venus (1951), and Space Detective (1951).
There were even hybrids between genres—like Charlton's Space Western Comics (1952) starring Spurs Jackson and his Space Vigilantes. The late 1950s featured various sci-ﬁ titles like Charlton's Mysteries of Unexplored Worlds (1956) and Outer Space (1958), followed by Marvel’s Tales to Astonish (I959).
In the l960s. Dell followed up with Space Man (I962), Outer Limits (1964). and Flying Saucers (1967). Charlton would try again with Space Nurse in Love (1962), Registered Nurse (1963), Career Girl Romances (1964), Hollywood Romances (1966), and Haunted Love (1973).
Japanese manga also featured science fiction elements very early. In the 1950s, Osamu Tezuka's Astro Boy was one of the first major science fiction manga. In the next decades many other creators and works would follow, including Leiji Matsumoto (e.g. Galaxy Express 999), Katsuhiro Otomo (e.g. Akira) and Masamune Shirow (e.g. Appleseed and Ghost in the Shell).
In the UK, the publication of Eagle gave a platform for the launch of Dan Dare in 1950. Starting in the mid-sixties The Trigan Empire was featured in Look and Learn drawn by Don Lawrence, who would go on to create Storm. In the 1970s, publications such as 2000 AD featured a selection of regular stories either putting a science fiction spin on popular themes like sports and war, and also introduced characters like Judge Dredd. Its success spawned a number of spin-offs an imitators like Tornado, Starlord and Crisis none of which lasted more than a few years, with the earlier titles being merged back into 2000 AD. Other examples include the Polish comic Funky Koval.
The first French comics story with a science-fiction theme was Zig et Puce au XXIème Siècle (Zig & Puce In The 21st Century), first serialized in a French Sunday newspaper and then published as an album in 1935; this was one of the many adventures of the teenage characters Zig and Puce first created in 1925. The first serious (featuring non-juvenile characters) French science fiction comics story was Futuropolis serialized in the comics magazine Junior in 1937-1938; the pseudo-sequel Electropolis followed in 1940. When the Nazi occupation forces banned the import of Flash Gordon into France, Le Rayon U (The U Ray) was created as replacement in the magazine Bravo which had been running Flash Gordon. Other French science fiction comics which debuted in 1943 include Otomox, featuring a powerful robot, serialized in Pic et Nic and L'Épervier Bleu (The Blue Hawk), serialized in Spirou magazine. The first French comics magazine exclusively featuring a science fiction hero was the relatively short-lived Radar of 1947. A far longer lasting French comics magazine would be the small-format Meteor, published from 1953 onwards till 1964; its main feature was Les Connquerants de l'espace (The Conquerors of Space). Subsequent notable French science fiction names the heroine Barbararella, publications like Métal Hurlant and authors like Enki Bilal (e.g. The Nikopol Trilogy) and Moebius.
With the advent of the Internet, a number of notable science fiction comics have been published primarily online. Among the earliest science fiction webcomic was Polymer City Chronicles, which first appeared in 1994. Other notable comics include Schlock Mercenary, and Starslip Crisis.
Science fiction is a wide genre, not simply limited to superheroes and spaceships. Below is just a small list of science fiction comics including such sub-genres as: fantasy, alternate history, horror, cyberpunk, time travel, military science fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, hard science fiction and soft science fiction. A typical work of this medium, David Cronenberg's eXistenZ: A Graphic Novel, employs many characteristics common to explorations of the future, but uses graphic depictions to convey visceral biological details and emotional impacts. Orbiter, by Warren Ellis, explores a space shuttle that mysteriously crash-lands back on earth after losing contact ten years earlier. Transmetropolitan: Back on the Street Other traditional graphic works in graphic novels of science fiction include: Red Star: The Battle of Kar Dathra's Gate, Kabuki: Circle of Blood, A Distant Soil, The Authority: Relentless, Global Frequency: Planet Ablaze and The Victorian.
Space opera is a subgenre of science fiction that often emphasizes romantic, often melodramatic adventure, set mainly or entirely in outer space, usually involving conflict between opponents possessing advanced technologies and abilities. The term has no relation to music but is analogous to "soap opera".
The term "space opera" was coined in 1941 by fan writer (and later author) Wilson Tucker, in a fanzine article, as a pejorative term. At the time, serial radio dramas in the US had become popularly known as soap operas because many were sponsored by soap manufacturers. Tucker defined space opera as the SF equivalent: a "hacky, grinding, stinking, outworn, spaceship yarn". Even earlier, the term horse opera had come into use as a term for western films. In fact, some fans and critics have noted that the plots of space operas have sometimes been taken from horse operas and simply translated into an outer space environment, as famously parodied on the back cover of the first issue of Galaxy Science Fiction. Still, during the late 20s and early 30s when the stories were printed in science fiction magazines, the stories were often referred to as "super-science epics".
Space opera is a real-world subgenre of speculative fiction or science fiction that emphasizes romantic adventure, exotic places, and larger-than-life characters in a galactic or intergalactic setting.
Beginning in the 1960s, and widely accepted by the 1970s, the space opera was redefined, following Brian Aldiss' definition in Space Opera (1974) as (in the paraphrase Hartwell and Cramer) "the good old stuff". Yet soon after his redefinition, it began to be challenged, for example, by the editorial practice and marketing of Judy-Lynn del Rey and in the reviews of her husband and colleague Lester del Rey. In particular, they disputed the claims that space operas were obsolete, and Del Rey Books labeled reissues of earlier work of Leigh Brackett as space opera. By the early 1980s, space operas—adventure stories set in space—were again redefined, and the label was attached to major popular culture works such as Star Wars. It was only in the early 1990s that the term space opera began to be recognized as a legitimate genre of science fiction. Hartwell and Cramer define space opera as "colorful, dramatic, large-scale science fiction adventure, competently and sometimes beautifully written, usually focused on a sympathetic, heroic central character and plot action, and usually set in the relatively distant future, and in space or on other worlds, characteristically optimistic in tone. It often deals with war, piracy, military virtues, and very large-scale action, large stakes."
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and A Complete History of American Comic Books” by Shirrel Rhoades.